“The Last Night of Ballyhoo,” directed by Fred Nuernberg, will place audiences in the Georgia home of the Freitag family in 1939 on Dec. 14-31 at Blackfriars Theatre, 795 E. Main St., Rochester.
The Freitags live among the upper-echelon of the German-Jewish community in Atlanta. Although World War II is looming in the distance, the Freitags are more concerned with finding Lala a date to Ballyhoo, a lavish socal event. This comedy explores the struggle with religious identity in times of change and prejudice.
“The Last Night of Ballyhoo” premiered on Broadway in February 1997 and won the 1997 Tony Award for best play.
Nuernberg said this play mirrors the social stratification society continues to grapple with today, 79 years after this story takes place.
“Initially, ‘Ballyhoo’ appears to be a comedy about a family living in Atlanta in 1939. It is set on the night of the opening of ‘Gone with the Wind’ — which did, in fact, enjoy its premiere in Atlanta,” he said. “What I found, however, is the long-standing undercurrent of social discrimination between elements of the Jewish population in the southern U.S. The playwright skillfully gives us a lesson in tolerance and acceptance, while entertaining us. Something we could use in our society today.”
The cast includes Vicki Casarett (Reba Freitag), Peter Doyle (Adolph Freitag), Pam Feicht (Boo Levy), Natalie LeClair (Lala Levy), Emily Mahoney (Sunny Freitag), Eric Schutt (Joe Farkas) and Edward Rubenacker (Peachy Weil).
Tickets cost $28.50-$36.50, and can be found at (585) 454-1260, blackfriars.org and at the theater. Senior and student discounts are available at the Box Office and online.